Adjustable height and a 500-pound capacity. Suitable for heavy-duty tasks. Does not tip over as some lighter roller stands do. Stays in one place thanks to non-skid feet.
People who have owned previous editions of this product occasionally voice disappointment with the quality of this version.
A lightweight support with a roller, bearings, and a flat plate for a low cost. Great for light-duty DIY tasks. Folds flat for easy storage.
Load rating not given; may only be 100 pounds. Inconsistent build quality.
Stable with non-slip feet. Powder-coated finish. Works with band saws, table saws, and more thanks to its adjustability.
It's not up to some of the extremely heavy-duty work that roller stands with higher weight limits can handle.
Height is adjustable. The tubes and feet are capped with rubberized plastic. Cost is low.
While working, some owners say the legs may begin to shut.
Extremely durable cast steel build. Height is easy to adjust. Design is suited for working with long materials. Rollers are coated in chrome.
Some owners report receiving units with missing components and no protective rubber caps on the feet.
A roller stand is an invaluable support device that you will find in all kinds of workshops from heavy industrial to home woodworking. It provides a freely rolling surface for workpieces to pass over, making sawing, planing, and other work easier.
When set up properly, a roller stand can allow one person to handle long pieces of material and undertake jobs that would otherwise take two people to do. While straightforward in concept, roller stands come in a number of different designs.
We at BestReviews have been taking an in-depth look at the construction and capabilities of roller stands so we can help you pick the right one for your situation. Our favorites represent both high-performance options and budget solutions, so there is something here to fulfill most requirements. We look at the key features in detail in the following roller stand buying guide.
There are four main types of roller stand: standard, flip-flop, three-in-one, and tilting.
Standard: This roller stand is the most basic. It consists of a plain roller running in one direction on ball bearings on top of an adjustable base. A variation on this has anywhere from two to five rollers fixed in a frame. This gives a larger support area, but the rollers still work in the same way.
Flip-flop: This roller stand has a roller as described above on one side and a set of large round bearings on the other. These allow for easy movement in multiple directions. The name comes from the fact it’s quick to flip from one type of roller to the other.
Three-in-one: This is like the flip-flop design, but the third side consists of a simple flat plate. It can be used as a rest and the workpiece won’t move about.
Tilting: This roller stand uses two narrower, side-by-side rollers instead of one. The rollers can be adjusted independently at different angles up to 45° from the horizontal, thus offering tremendous flexibility in terms of the shape of the workpiece the roller stand can support. A variation on this is the pipe stand in which the two rollers are fixed at a 45° angle, providing a V for the pipe to sit in.
The other major visual difference is the kind of legs. The most basic are made from tubular or square-section steel in an inverted T shape. These can be quite wide to maximize stability, so you might want to check the dimensions in case they would present a trip hazard. Invariably the legs are hinged so they can be folded up when not in use. You may even find it convenient to rig up a bracket to hang them on a wall.
On the downside, the T-shaped legs cannot be adjusted for leveling. You’ll either need to ensure your floor is already level or shim up the legs in some way if it isn’t. That is never an ideal solution because it can compromise stability.
A tripod design is popular because of the inherent stability, and other roller stands have four legs. On both three- and four-legged models, you’ll often find that the leg heights adjust independently, which is very useful for leveling.
The downside of the three- and four-legged type is that they don’t fold down for storage.
Long cylindrical objects are difficult to control with standard roller stands. The solution is a pipeline roller, which is either a single roller shaped like an hourglass fixed horizontally, or two angled rollers providing a V for the cylinder or tube to sit in.
Perhaps the most important factor for many people is the weight rating of the roller stand — the maximum it can safely support — which can be anywhere from 100 pounds to as much as 2,000 pounds. The leg design is important here.
It’s fairly clear from the construction where the strength lies, with pressed steel forming the structure of those in the middle range, but solid castings are the strongest.
The rolling components are almost always made of steel, which is then either galvanized or chrome plated to prevent rust. Other parts may be painted or powder coated. The latter is more resistant to scratches.
The width of the rollers may be a factor. Plain rollers and multiple bearing heads often stick up higher than their fixing brackets, so it’s possible to run wider material over them, but you shouldn't take it for granted. On some models (notably three-in-ones) the end plates that hold the rollers can get in the way.
You may want to consider the maximum and minimum height adjustments because roller stands vary considerably. Some offer a couple of feet while others are less than a foot.
It’s obviously important that the height adjustment is secure, particularly when heavier loads are involved. In many cases, the adjustment is simply by a knob or twist handle rotating a threaded bar that clamps against the sliding part holding the roller head. It’s quite effective, but if the thread gets stripped it’s very difficult to repair.
In some, the upper sliding section that holds the roller is wedge shaped. So while a screw handle is used to set the height, the stand is not actually relying on the clamping force of that screw. Instead, it’s simply restricting the space available, and because of the wedge shape, it actually gets tighter the more force is applied.
Inexpensive: Cheap roller stands start at about $20. They’re fine for occasional light-duty work, but load ratings are often modest, and the durability of the threaded components isn’t always great.
Mid-range: Most people will find what they need for between $30 and $80. Within this range, you’ll find very good single roller, three-in-one models and several tilting roller stands.
Expensive: Heavy-duty models capable of supporting 400 pounds and more can exceed $100, as can those with multiple fixed rollers and adjustable length roller stands. The latter can be as much as $300, but these are more of a package-handling device than something used for workpiece support.
To keep your roller stand operating smoothly, lubricate it regularly with lightweight oil. Avoid petroleum-based sprays, which leave a residue that can trap grit and do more harm than good.
Even the most complex roller stand is still a straightforward device and inherently pretty safe. Nevertheless, there are a few things worth checking before you start work.
A. A conveyor usually has several sets of rollers, providing an extended platform rather than just a single support. It’s often used in warehouses for moving goods along. However, it can be confusing when you see something called an “adjustable roller stand,” which might describe either device.
A. Technically, a tripod gives the greatest stability when compared with the typical four-legged version or those with horizontal bar feet. A tripod always has all three feet on the ground, so it’s stable on virtually any surface (which is why this type is so popular). However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s level or offers adequate support, so be sure to check that before starting work.
A. It’s certainly possible, and there are several sets of plans and video instructions for making roller stands online. They can be a very cheap alternative. However, it’s worth thinking about the weight they can support, the precision you need, and the durability you expect. If it’s for simple support, that’s fine. If you’re using it as the out-feed of a thickness planer, for example, any inconsistency could have a negative impact on the finished product.